In the future, people will be carried into space by private-sector projects like the Virgin Galactic VSS Enterprise, says former astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman. Here, the Enterprise sits behind Virgin boss Richard Branson, left, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Credit Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images
Even people who aren't following the space shuttle program's last mission — or aren't much interested in outer space — likely know what the shuttle looks like. Its familiar delta-wing shape symbolizes the last 30 years of manned space flight.
As MIT professor — and former NASA astronaut — Jeffrey Hoffman tells NPR's Steve Inskeep, the shuttle was designed to be a very versatile spacecraft.
Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming is one of many lawmakers who opposes the the new Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
One thing both Democrats and Republicans agree on is that they can't solve the deficit problem without slowing the growth of the massive Medicare program for the elderly and disabled.
But here's an irony. Republicans and a growing number of Democrats also seem to agree that they don't like the one aspect of last year's Affordable Care Act that actually would effectively reduce Medicare spending.
Two armed American border guards confront a group of immigrants attempting to cross illegally from Mexico into the United States in 1948. In <em>A Line in the Sand</em>, Rachel St. John traces the history of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Credit Keystone / Getty Images
A 1997 photo shows a sign in San Diego, Calif., warning drivers about pedestrians running across the highway at the U.S.-Mexico border. St. John says that seeing borders as tools to control the movement of people is a uniquely 20th-century phenomenon.
Credit Hector Mata / AFP/Getty Images
Rachel St. John is professor of history at Harvard University. <em>Line In The Sand </em>is her first book.
Credit Jennifer Houle /
Much of America as we know it evolved in the 19th century, as we'll explore in a series of three conversations this week with writers who seek out new ways to understand old events.
It's easy to define the squiggly border between Mexico and Texas: It's determined by the Rio Grande river. But the rest of the U.S.-Mexico border is not so obvious — the straight lines are drawn seemingly at random across mountains and deserts.
Last summer, members of the Brown family — Meri (from left), Janelle, Kody, Christine and Robyn — spoke to the media as they prepared for the debut of their reality TV show, <em>Sister Wives</em>.
Credit Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images
It's the latest episode in Sister Wives. But this time it's playing out in the courtroom, not on cable. On Wednesday, the Brown family — the husband, four wives, and 16 children who star in the reality TV show — plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in Utah. The family members say the state's anti-bigamy law is unconstitutional and that Supreme Court precedent backs them up.
Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, the No. 2 U.S. officer in Afghanistan, steps down from his post Monday. The commander met last month with U.S. troops in Helmand Province.
Credit David Gilkey / David Gilkey/NPR
Today was the last day of a two-year tour in Afghanistan for Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, who has been responsible for the day-to-day operations in the war.
NPR's Tom Bowman and photographer David Gilkey spent a some time with him at Camp Dwyer, a desert base in Helmand Province. Tom was there when Rodriguez gave a pep-talk of sorts to several dozen Marines. He talked to Rodriguez about what's next for the U.S. in Afghanistan, especially after President Obama announced his plans to withdraw 10,000 troops.